One important factor to consider is if your outdoor furniture will stand up to the elements (sun, rain, wind, etc.)
This is especially true if you are getting a wooden piece of outdoor furniture.
In this article we will examine why outdoor wooden furniture is so popular and which type of wood is best suited for outdoor use.
The Draw of Outdoor Wooden Furniture
Wood is a renewable energy source, meaning it has a reduced impact on the environment than other materials. Trees take up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, which reduces wood's overall carbon footprint.
Once absorbed, the CO2 stays in the wood and out of the environment. So for every cubic meter of timber used in wooden furniture construction, about one ton of CO2 remains in storage.
Wood is lightweight but strong and long-lasting. In fact, when appropriately treated, furniture made from hardwood can last well over 100 years.
Wood furniture comes with attractive grains, earthy colors, and modular patterns. Thus, it creates the ideal aesthetic for any garden or courtyard. It also complements the natural landscape while extending the indoor space to the outdoors.
Wood's longevity makes it a perfect recycling material. This reduces its carbon footprint because there's less need to use freshly milled timber to create a new product.
Another benefit of reusing reclaimed wood is that fewer materials end up in landfills. And if you're worried about the aesthetics of your furniture, it's worth knowing that salvaged wood furniture has a unique character and a rustic look typical of time-tested timber.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Wooden Outdoor Furniture
Your Local Climate
There are several weather-related questions to ponder before buying your garden furniture. For example, is the weather hot? Is the area too windy? Do you stay close to the beach, or does the location have a high humidity level?
Different weather conditions would negatively affect certain types of outdoor wood furniture. For example, hot and dry weather could crack some wood varieties. And a windy space can make some lightweight furniture fall or fly away.
So, consider the weather in your local area before settling for outdoor wooden furniture.
Resistance to Rot and Insects
Wood is a natural material and thus susceptible to insects and weathering. A downpour, for example, may seep into wooden furniture, causing the grain to enlarge and contract, resulting in cracks.
Mold and fungi may also make your wooden furniture their breeding ground, contributing to rot. However, some wood species contain compounds that naturally ward off insects and mold.
Do you have a square garden, an expansive patio, or a narrow balcony? Keep in mind that your outdoor space and shape will determine the size of your outdoor wood pieces. Also, don't forget to factor in the free space you need to use the furniture comfortably.
Comfort and Quality
Of course, your outdoor furniture pieces should be of good quality. But even the best quality pieces are useless if they aren't comfortable. So you should make sure to use the furniture pieces for at least five minutes before deciding on the purchase.
Some features to check out concerning the comfort aspect are the armrests' position, the height of the tables, and legroom space.
The Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture
The wood furniture market has two main types of wood: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods are typically more robust and denser than softwoods.
Within these two subtypes are weather-resistant wood species ideal for outdoor furniture. They include:
Navies across the globe used acacia wood to build ships because of how hard and dense this wood species is. Acacia, a typical hardwood, is highly dense and withstands harsh weathering. It is the perfect material for your outdoor patio furniture owing to its durability and beautiful, deep tones.
Black Locust is a sustainable wood type that has been in existence for centuries. In the early years, man used black locust wood to build warships, houses, and fence posts. It would last for over 50 years without the use of harmful preservatives.
The color of black locust patio furniture weathers when left untouched. It turns into a silvery-gray patina without affecting the resilience of the wood.
Cedar generates a natural resin with an intense aroma that deters bugs. It also fends off mosquitoes, allowing you to hang out outdoors past sunset.
Cedar boasts incredible durability and can last for two decades without splitting or warping. It is also lightweight, making it easier to rearrange cedar chairs and tables.
Cypress boasts a naturally occurring preservative that fends off rot and bugs. It is not subject to the expand/contract cycles. What’s interesting with cypress outdoor furniture pieces is that they can hold up against the elements with no coating or finish.
This wood type is sustainable and highly durable. It features high oil content, which allows it to resist moisture penetration while highlighting the warm, orange shades in the grain.
Eucalyptus outdoor furniture will not warp or split over time, but the color may fade without a finish. So you'll need to apply a finish on the wood surface.
Ipe is a tropical hardwood that holds the title of the densest wood in the world. In fact, it's incredibly dense that it hardly floats. A combination of natural oils and high density makes ipe patio furniture immune to cracking, warping, denting, and rot.
Apart from its beautiful grain pattern, mahogany is hard-wearing and tight-grained. It's also not susceptible to splintering and shrinking when exposed to occasional spills. These qualities make it an ideal wood choice for outdoor furniture.
Redwood is the benchmark for building long-lasting outdoor patio furniture. This wood type is naturally resistant to insects, moisture, and decay, making it ideal for outdoor dining sets. Despite being a softwood, redwood can accommodate tons of weight and endure years of use.
Shorea is a tropical hardwood that is incredibly strong and dense. It's resistant to water damage, pets, and rot from mold and fungus. It's also less costly and therefore the best option if you're on a tight budget.
Teak is a popular wood choice for outdoor furniture due to its resilience. It can endure the harshest of elements, thanks to its high natural oil content. It's also impervious to moisture and resistant to bugs.
And since it's a tropical hardwood, teak features a beautiful warm tone that looks good on any type of furniture.
White oak is a tight-grained hardwood that is stunning and strong. It is impervious to moisture and rot-resistant, making it suitable for your outdoor decking furniture.
The Bottom Line
While wood is not the most durable construction material, certain wood species can rival steel's longevity and are perfect for your outdoor furniture.
That being said, there's such a vast pool of woods to choose from that it sometimes gets confusing. The list above can set you on the right track to finding your ideal wood for outdoor furniture pieces.